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One of the most popular prescription drugs on the market, Ambien, and its generic version known as Zolpidem, are intended to be used to help people in New York suffering from insomnia. However, one of the more dangerous side effects of this popular hypnotic drug is a phenomenon known as sleep-driving.

The medication has been known to cause blackouts for some users, resulting in them engaging in behaviors that they did not remember the next day. According to the Huffington Post, this has resulted in a number of high profile legal cases where defendants have argued that Ambien led to them to engage in illegal behaviors without their knowledge.

As a result of those cases, changes have been made to the warning labels on the drug to better alert consumers of the potentially dangerous side effects of taking the drug. However, by explicitly putting such a warning on the medication, it only bolstered the argument for using it as a legitimate defense in court. Because of the way it affects the body and mind, it can be difficult for prosecutors to categorize what type of intoxication it actually causes. Therefore, while some people have had success in court using the Ambien defense, others have not been to lucky.

Most recently, the Ambien defense was used by a 41-year old nun from Philadelphia who was arrested for driving under the influence, as reported by 6abc. She claimed that it was the Ambien that caused her be in an accident across the river in New Jersey and not the wine she had consumed earlier in the day. However, the judge did not buy it. Many DUI statutes do not taken into consideration whether or not a person had the intent to drive while intoxicated, only that they actually did so. Ultimately, she was convicted and received a license suspension and several hundred dollars in fines.

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